Impact Measurement can be complicated.
It's sophisticated and intimidating. And because of that, charities can find it hard to get started themselves. Instead they end up only tracking impact when funders ask them to and even then it is often a case of gathering together bits of data at the last-minute because you're up to your neck in programme delivery, campaign management, casework or whatever the thing is that your organisation does to make a difference in the world.
And the sad truth is, there isn't a big incentive to fix this problem. Whilst there are no many impact consultancies and trainers, there are only so many organisations they can reach in a year. If you look at the numbers, you can see the size of the problem. In the UK alone there are 160,000 charities and half of them have turnovers below £10,000. There's no way they can afford an impact measurement consultant. And even if they could or if they went on an excellent training session, they aren't in a position to afford a bespoke database to track their impact data. But even if they did that, and this is the juicy part that relates to charities, non-profits, trusts and foundations of all sizes, how would they realistically get their staff to input accurate data regularly?
Everyone who has ever worked on a database project or a CRM project knows that getting the technology installed is just the start. Training your staff to use it is only an incremental step forward. The big ugly challenge is how do you get people to use the thing!
This is the perennial problem we have set ourselves to solve with Makerble.
Our approach draws insight from the worlds of advertising, entertainment and behaviour change. We think of it as Playful Sophistication; the art of making the serious, enjoyable.
These are the four principles we use to entwine playfulness with sophisticated impact measurement. We'd love to hear your thoughts on these in the comments. As a start-up we're constantly gaining feedback and evolving so your experiences, expertise and insight is just what we need to make impact measurement as robust as it needs to be and yet accessible at scale.
Understandability. Because in order to encourage playfulness, we need the activity to be accessible enough for everyone to participate in. At Makerble this means
This means at every stage, making it feel possible to make progress. Working at the sharp end of social change has its demoralising moments. But your impact data is one of the things that can remind you just how far you've come. At Makerble this means:
This means making things Desirable. We want people to WANT to use Makerble. No-one needs to convince you to play a game, watch a film or see your best friend. We want Makerble to have that same level of attraction. Because playfulness isn’t about obligation and duty, it’s something you are intrinsically motivated to do. Impact measurement should be no different. So at Makerble this means
No-one needs to convince you to play a game or watch a film, impact measurement should be nodifferent.
By making staff and even volunteers accountable for their progress, it encourages everyone to take their work just that little bit more seriously. Because people only play when they believe that everybody else is playing by the same rules; those rules create trust and it’s that trust that enables people to participate. At Makerble this means
Those four principles have paid off so far. We've heard from our clients that Makerble has halved the time managers spend on data collection and doubled the productivity of volunteers. We'd love to hear your thoughts and you can create your own free account to give Makerble a spin for yourself. www.makerble.com
This article was originally published on Linked In PulseBack to Impact Tracker home